Alright, before I tell you this story, you've got to know a little bit about Claire's background. So... keep reading. It'll all make sense. Claire has a little problem called GERD. You know, gastro-esophageal reflux disease - acid reflux. Every so often it flares up, causing her to wake up around 3am with a stomach ache. When she was a puppy and the vet figured out that this was a chronic issue for her, I was told to give her famotidine before bedtime for a month to see if that helped; if it did, then I was to stop giving her the medicine until she started showing symptoms again. I give her the medicine by hiding it in a spoonful of peanut butter; it's one of her favorite foods (she likes Jif the best) and masks the medicine, so it's a win-win situation. We've been on this regimen for over a year now and it seems to work pretty well.
A few months ago, Lissa and Claire were watching a movie with me in the living room. We were all up past our usual bedtime, and Claire had fallen asleep on the couch during the movie; she goes to bed at 9pm like clockwork. At the end of the movie, I told Claire that it's time for bed - she knows this cue and normally gets her Blue Elephant before leaping into bed. This time, however, after putting Blue Elephant in bed, she jumped on down and went into the kitchen. She wedged her nose between the refrigerator door and the frame and quickly - expertly, mind you - pried it open. She sniffed around for a minute and then grabbed the jar of peanut butter with her mouth and brought it over to me, then sat there looking at me, waiting for me to give her the nightly "treat" of PB&meds. On this occasion, I had two jars of peanut butter in the refrigerator, as the Jif was almost gone. The other jar was some generic brand. I'm assuming that Claire smelled the difference between them and picked her favorite brand upon recognizing the smell. I was in shock and awe, my friends, shock and awe. Trainers and veterinarians always say that dogs like routine, I just didn't realize that it was so specific!
But I have many questions about this. How did she figure out how to open the refrigerator in the first place? Has she been practicing when I'm at work? What has she consumed while she's been nosing around in there when I'm not home? And, for crying out loud, how do I ever begin to train her to close the refrigerator door after she's gotten what she wants?!
...I have a feeling that I would be in so much trouble if she had opposable thumbs.